SC creates panel to simplify jury instructions; Orleans Parish judge named to committee

By Alejandro de los Rios | Jan 10, 2011


Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Catherine Kimball has appointed Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge Rosemary Ledet to a panel tasked with simplifying jury instructions in civil suits, according to a press release issued last week.

The new Committee to Study Plain Civil Jury Instructions was formed to ensure that jury instructions are easy to understand and don't include confusing legal jargon.

"We know that this is a matter the members of the Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA) are also interested in, and with the assistance of the LSBA leadership, the Louisiana Supreme Court has established this Committee of distinguished and experienced members of the bench and bar to make recommendations on plain civil jury instructions for Supreme Court consideration," Kimball said in a statement.

The other named committees members are Baton Rouge attorney H. Alston Johnson III, who will serve as committee chairman, as well as Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge James Stewart, 23rd Judicial District Court Judge Guy Holdridge and Baton Rouge attorney Julie Baxter.

The committee has not yet scheduled its first meeting and Ledet declined comment until the committee has convened. Johnson deferred comment to the Louisiana Supreme Court for the time being.

Louisiana Supreme Court spokeswoman Vallerie Willard said that no decisions have yet been made regarding what the committee will look at or what they will recommend going forward.

"This is just to establish that this exists now, and it's a subject the court has deemed worth looking at," she said.

Willard could not say what prompted Kimball to form the committee, but that changes to jury instructions can come from the State Supreme Court or Legislature.

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